The corners of her eyes discerned a bright silhouette suddenly flashing by. The little girl shuddered in her heart. Wham! She looked back on her mech, a few new scratches were added to the body of her wounded Viridae*! She shook her head and tapped her cheeks, being the topmost student for sight examination in her group, "How could I be seeing things?" she mumbled. "What was that?" She failed to identify it at first sight. It had to be the speed of the moving object being too fast and not because of how it travelled beyond her field of attention. "Yeah, certainly!" She was very much confident of herself.
Something must have changed! This was the first speculation that popped up in her thoughts. The current situation would only put her in worse fates as time went. At this rate, inevitably she would be caught in the end! Well since she had gotten the worst situation, any changes would be a variable, a spark of hope for her to take hold of! Variables were exactly what the little girl desperately wished for!
At such perilous moment, yet she was as calm as the sea with her thoughts wondering. If both Mu and Ye Chong were aware of her thoughts, they would be pretty impressed too.
Still, a variable is a variable and this variable went beyond her calculation!
She wanted to act on something but…
Out of the blue, the Dawn mech was stoned as his hurricane attack stopped abruptly. It stood like a sculpture in the woods, an absolute activity to an absolute inactivity… which the girl could not react in time to. "Huh?" The girl was astounded, her eyes caught a few beams of pale green slashing through the bottom of the oval cabin of the Dawn mech.
Wait! Oh no…
Her face drained completely as she mumbled her fright, pulling her mech away from the Dawn mech, but she was too late! The Dawn mech exploded and the impact had shattered the balance of her mech. The Viridae lost control as it fell rolling like a giant boulder off the slope. The scene went spinning and her head was struck by concussion. Dizziness blanked her head, confusion seized her.
They were fighting in an opening of the woods. And the explosion directly caused a shallow dent of a diameter about 10 meter on the ground. The sound of branches breaking down and trees crashing rang throughout the forest. The trees were literally shredded, only the trunk was remained in messy cuts.
She shook her heavy head, trying her best to get back into the scene. Her eyes blinked vigorously as the imagery grew clearer gradually. There was… There was a gold silhouette standing there… he seemed to be looking… at me?
She shook her head again. Her sight recovered fully and finally she identified what the gold silhouette was exactly. A mech…Mi-Miniature…mech? She could not believe her eyes. She was skeptical of what she saw, judging by the appearance and the sizing, it was a miniature mech indeed. But… was there a miniature mech this potent? That it could eliminate a Dawn mech by few slashes in dark? And that was a one hit kill too!
"No… No way. Absolutely, no way!" she muttered in disbelief, shaking her head. How could this be possible? She had been instilled with the ideology that the Sanctuary was invulnerable, unbeatable and was definitely the strongest. Even if the Sanctuary was put in comparison with the nemesis - the FMPA and the Black Coves, the Sanctuary would only be on par with them, and they could not simply destroy a Dawn mech’s armor by a few slashes.
A miniature mech? Breaking a Dawn mech with cuts? This is too ridiculous! The capacity of a miniature mech was incomparable even to a standard mech in the market! Its sole purpose was to act as a personal guard. And I had never heard of ridiculous stories about a miniature mech overcoming a standard mech, especially a Dawn mech itself! No way. Impossible. Unmöglich! There had to be someone else dealing the fatal blows, not this mech alone, I must have missed it!
But who was it? She took a look around, there was nobody else!
Ye Chong did not look down on the Guardian though. Unlike the others, he recognized the power of the Guardian right from the beginning so he had subconsciously categorized it as a Super Mech. He had never thought about how others who had yet witnessed the potency of his mech would react at first sight. Nonetheless, even if the others did not feel alarmed while seeing the Guardian right in front of them, he would be much happier, since that simply meant that the Guardian would be easily-overlooked and he would have better odds on successful assassinations.
He stared at the green mech collapsed on the ground silently, awaiting it to get up. Despite that… he waited patiently. He waited very patiently. He waited very, very patiently. The person did not seem to have moved a gear. Ye Chong frowned in his mech. Was the person so feeble that she fainted even on such a weak blow?
The golden mask on his face expressed his frowning vibrantly. Well, of course, the tiny bits of changes on expression did not escape the little girl’s certified, topmost assured sight.
So it really was him? Muttered the little girl in her mind.
"Get out!" Ye Chong had lost his patience, he began counting down, disregarding time given her to ponder, "10 seconds. Get out yourself or I’ll do it for you." His words fell indifferently. No temper was in, as if the threatening was done like his usual dough-kneading.
Huh? Wait, um, no!
She panicked. Her sensible mind suggested her that it was in fact this golden man who destroyed the Dawn mech. The flat tone contained an indestructible confidence, which made her reassessed the ordinary-looking miniature mech in front of her.
Ye Chong did not expect the person’s mind to be this sensible as he counted down nonchalantly.
The 10 seconds lapsed like milliseconds to a person in panic of sudden changes.
Ye Chong’s voice was flat as always it was.
To her horror, she found out how her pointless ponder had taken up too much time, the word quickly escaped her mouth, pleading for mercy.
T-1 before Ye Chong was launched.
Her face was pale; paler than the skeletons, as she saw the man in the miniature mech being still unconcerned despite his words. There were no changes on his expression at the slightest! She felt chilliness sent down to her marrows. A true fright to the spines!
In that mere second, the atmosphere mutated! Fear stormed the place. The tension… she had only tasted it once from the teacher who taught killing back in the Sanctuary.
"Your senses are much more sensible than most of the people, even more sensible than myself," commented their teacher. "Whenever you feel a sensation similar to mine of someone's, you've got to be careful. Never mess with such kind, understand?" The teacher’s eyes gazed at her and her mates like a serpent in hunt. The gaze frightened the entire group.
And the tension exerted by the teacher was much stronger in this person!
I am doomed…
Ye Chong did not even bother with her plight, his body moved as soon as he finished counting.
The golden man shrouded like a wind right towards her. Her face was fully drained, as she realized there was no way she could grasp the man at this speed. "Is this … Is this a human?"
Thup. A dead silence came next.
Crack! A few seconds later, the sound came last.
It felt like a thunder in her ears as in great terror she discovered her cabin shaking. The armor right in front of her was cracking, the lines spread like a spider web. The last sound of cracking was the sound made when the piece of armor fell.
Clink, clank. Klank, klink, shush! The pieces of armor rained before her. The fresh air surging in teased her suffocated mind. She felt pleasant and her nerves were serene. Yikes! Through the gap she could see the golden man staring at her expressionlessly. The eyes of solely black-and-white were freaking her out for some reason. Goosebumps occupied every inch of her skin.
Ye Chong planned to use his poorly-named dagger at first. But Dagger for No.2 was a bit too much for cracking the armor. A slight cut on the pilot inside could have been fatal and definitely he did not intend to do that. He wanted not her body, but her head for the information he desired. "Oh well." He went ahead with his fists instead. He did smash an alloy door open before but that blow wounded his fist. Thanks to the Guardian, its capability magnified his strength, so smashing the armor of Viridae open felt like a smashing plastic. His hands were covered by the Guardian, so there were no injuries as well.
Of course, it was not exactly due to the capability of the Guardian. It was also because of the materials used to build Viridae. Viridae was purely a mech for training purposes, one could imagine its material would be as brittle as plastic among the other great materials for Dawn mechs. Such a normal material, no doubt Ye Chong could break it even with his own fist. But if it was a Dawn mech, it would be a dream to even crack the armor with bare hands.
She crawled out of the mech with initiative. Seeing how the foe had behaved, it would be better for her to compromise and act along, just to guarantee her survivability… What if it enrages the foe? Any form of disobedience would be assumed as provocation for sure. And anyone could imagine what could possibly happen if the foe assumed you being disobedient. She would not want to lose her life over such foolish act.
The monochromatic sight of the Guardian was pretty bad at deciphering human’s facial features. In Ye Chong’s eyes, the girl looked like a three-dimensional avatar formed in white lines and shades of grids. It was strange, at least the lines were clear enough to roughly define the appearance of the girl.
The girl was as little as she sounded, about 13 to 14 years old. A shaggy short hair, a hollow face. She was in fact little thinner than average girls. She looked exhausted yet her eyes were lustrous. Well those were never Ye Chong’s concern. "Mhm, good physique." He carried on looking, the muscles were of well-proportions and could be explosive at times. Obviously he could tell how the girl had undergone systematic training. Judging by the age and the rate of puberty of the girl - high score for the training course! And he was well-aware that this girl knew an important training course, yes, that technique unknown to Ye Chong where he got it from Mr. Yin. Mentalist would only teach to another mentalist. The training methodology was one to one, only the emphasis could be different. But they are commonly known to be time-consuming.
Under such a constraint of time yet she was able to achieve such a physique, impressive!
If Shang was here, he would probably begin to recite poetries about the beauty of the girl as he launched another round of commentary of the beauty. Too bad it was still a puzzling issue to Ye Chong to compute.
He stood before the little girl. "Wh-" He realized how the WH-question could be actually technical to initiate a meaningful conversation. Suddenly he did not know how he should begin.
"Mu… Mu!" muttered Ye Chong in his mind, the Orbits calling Mu, the Orbits calling Mu, "Why don’t you do the inquiry instead?"
"I am no expert in this," Mu rejected the offer right away. "If you are indeed in need of assistance, I could call Shang for this, since he is considered more of the expert in this!"
"Shang?" He thought back the passionate lectures of tortures he received these few days from Shang, "Ne-Nevermind." He shook his head violently, "I’ll do it myself."
Settled down, Ye Chong pondered of which WH-question to start with.
The little girl was in shock at first, but she calmed herself over the time as she saw the miniature mech man stayed already silent for a long time. The heck he wants? Mumbled the girl.
"Your name?" The words broke the awkward silence.
She was alarmed and then she reacted calmly, part of the outcome of her training came flawlessly, "Zhu Ling."
"Ling. With the ‘g’ at the end."
"Oh I see!" Ye Chong did not have any concept on surnames, since name was merely a code for someone to address yourself at convenience.
"Position at the Sanctuary?" he asked.
"Sanctuary?" I knew it! She got the purpose of this man right away. She had pinpointed the part of her sought by this person. That means I still have something to bargain with. As long as I get this right, then my situation would be dramatically improved!
Various plans ran through her head, her lips did not stop moving though, "I am the member of the elite group in the Sanctuary!" She understood the current situation disallowed her to act hesitated. Gaining trust from the person would be her top priority.
"Elite group?" Ye Chong had no idea what group that was.
"Well, elite group is an informal way to address for the insiders." Judging by Ye Chong’s expression, she concluded that he knew nothing about the Sanctuary as she began explaining with patience, "The formal and official name of the group is known as the Sanctuary Executive Training group, which in simpler terms mean the group for the trainees who have yet completed their training as well as their assessment. They are under the Executives."
"Executives?" Another term first came to Ye Chong’s ears.
"What are ‘Mentalist Executives’?"
"Mentalist Executives are the internal bureaucracy formed by the advanced mentalist-pilots, mostly for fulfilling special mission or tasks with high difficulties." Pride was heard in her words as she said it with grace.
"I see! So they are all the expert pilots of the mentalist as you said?"
"And they are the ones with psychic ability?"
"Psychic ability?" The girl was confused, "The proper way to call it should be the ‘extrasensory’ of the body. It is a kind of application of mentality. And the mentalists are better experts in this compared to mentalist-pilot. It’s just that the mentalist-pilots have in-depth understanding of combats. So they are aware of how to utilize such ability at maximum."
"Mhm, application is more of the key," Ye Chong utterly agreed to this statement. "So you are a mentalist… or a mentalist pilot?"
"Me? I… I have not passed the assessment so I can’t be a mentalist-pilot just yet," her words sounded flat.
"So how many mentalist-pilots are there in the Sanctuary? How about the mentalists alone?" This would be the key question of the entire conversation. At least it would provide Ye Chong something to picture about the Sanctuary’s forces.
"Abou-" She wanted to reply but Mu’s voice hurried by Ye Chong’s mind, "Ye, a mech is approaching here! And it's coming fast!"